Nothing happened to me because of the Louisiana flood. But it could have. There's nothing about my character or where I chose to live that exempted me from the flood waters. It just happened that the mega rain did not fall over my house. But others in our community were not so lucky, if luck is even the right word.
Together Baton Rouge is an organization that was started several years ago to address issues of social justice and bringing the community together in rational ways to solve problems. Boy have they stepped up and been incredible in their efforts for this flood recovery. I'm proud to support them financially, and I hope you'll consider a donation too.
As a Methodist I'm proud that no matter where the disaster we are always on the ground. UMCOR is another great option for your donation dollars, and for the Louisiana flood going through the Louisiana Annual Conference is a good idea too. Our church did a lot of work in the initial week after the flood, and we continue to house "second responders," or those teams of volunteers who have expertise in gutting houses and came out to do just that.
I still feel out of sorts -- I should be DOING something -- I am experiencing no negative outcomes to this flood that hits SO CLOSE to home. My life is uninterrupted, while those so nearby are still shattered. (Although I still have the "excuse" of nursing mother to keep me out of heavy work ... although if I look at myself I'm so weak I doubt I could do the physical labor required even without the need to remain with my baby almost all the time...)
The national media coverage -- rather the lack thereof -- is problematic for getting recovery dollars and private donations flowing into the community. It's also understandable if infuriating. There's no one to "blame" in the flood scenario is something I've read often, and really that means there is no villain other than mother nature. And we can pound our heads against the wall all we want there's no changing that.
But I also don't think the national media scoffs at stories of the Cajun Navy or people saving each other. It's just less compelling perhaps the farther you are from the tragedy. That's true as human nature I guess or at least the way our media system is set up now. I didn't give a lot of thought to Superstorm Sandy even though we'd recently moved from the area hit when it happened in 2012 and even though it got A LOT more national coverage.
A lot of donations have come directly to families via GoFundMe accounts that have been set up. I've donated to one for my friend. But the awful part of that is GoFundMe takes 8% off the top. I knew it was a bad idea and I should have bought a gift card or just sent her a check directly. Blurgh.
The other instinct that has kicked in during this time "after" is the desire to clean out all my crap. For several days I looked around and thought about the things on the floor/low shelves would just be gone should water come in. And how that would probably be OK for most of the stuff. And should I take steps to eliminate excess material goods? (Yes, a thousand times, yes.)
I've also been cutting way back on spending on non-consumables. We're still doing grocery shopping and getting medicines (wait for the post on how much fighting the breast infection is costing me to see that math...), but I haven't been shopping for new clothes or shoes or anything, even as back-to-school sales are in full swing. (I did buckle today at Target during the back-to-school clearance items, so I'm sure it won't be long before I'm back to my regular type of spending habit.) We have plenty and there's no need. We should put that money toward helping others rebuild their lives. What else is there to do?
These are the main thoughts that have been on repeat in the last few weeks. In addition to the deep sense of gratitude for remaining high and dry.